A toothbrush and floss; they’re pretty self-explanatory, aren’t they? Although it might seem like it, there are some important things to keep in mind when you’re brushing and cleaning between your teeth!
- Don’t Scrub Too Hard
When most of us go to cleaning something, we tend to think that scrubbing it harder is the best way to do it. Not with your smile! Aggressive brushing can cause gum recession. Instead, use a soft amount of pressure and focus on only brushing one or two teeth at a time. The shorter, softer strokes will be more effective than wide, sweeping strokes where the bristles are all splayed back.
- Get at the Right Angle
Aim your toothbrush bristles at around 45-degrees toward your gums. This allows you to brush both your tooth and along the gumlines, where plaque bacteria tend to thrive the most.
- Take Your Time
Most of us tend to get in a rush when we’re brushing. Unless you’re using a timer, there’s a good chance that you’re only brushing for about 30-seconds, compared to the recommended two minutes. Consider getting an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer (you’ll also be getting thousands of extra bristle movements!)
- Smaller is Better
Choose a toothbrush that fits your mouth. If a child or petite adult used a full-sized toothbrush, it wouldn’t be small enough to conform to the curves in and around their mouth. When in doubt, choose a brush with a smaller head. Otherwise, important areas could go completely skipped over.
- Don’t “Snap” Your Floss
Pulling your floss straight down between your teeth can permanently damage your gums. If the area is tight, use a thin tape floss or try working it back and forth until it slides down comfortably. After you’ve flossed one tooth, lift the string over your gums before wrapping it around the adjacent tooth. If dexterity is a concern, consider a water flosser. Floss aids like threaders or tufted floss are ideal for cleaning around bridges or in open contacts.
- Clean Under Your Gumlines
Wrap the floss tightly around your tooth in a “C” shape, then slide it under the gums. The goal of flossing isn’t just to clean where your teeth touch one another, but inside of the “pocket” that’s between your soft tissues and tooth. Go up and down a few times on each tooth.
- Bleeding isn’t Normal
One of the most common reasons why people stop flossing is because they say it makes their gums bleed. It’s actually not the flossing; it’s the active gingivitis or gum disease that is causing it! Flossing daily for two weeks is usually adequate for reversing mild gum infections. Anything more serious may need professional treatment at our office.
Dental plaque needs to be thoroughly removed, otherwise it can calcify into “tartar” (dental calculus) within 24-hours. Schedule a cleaning at Hawthorne Village Dental Care to give your oral hygiene a boost every six months and keep buildup at bay.